By Angela Saini,

Book cover of Superior: The Return of Race Science

Book description

Financial Times Book of the Year Telegraph Top 50 Books of the Year Guardian Book of the Year New Statesman Book of the Year

'Roundly debunks racism's core lie - that inequality is to do with genetics, rather than political power' Reni Eddo-Lodge

Where did the idea of race come…

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Why read it?

3 authors picked Superior as one of their favorite books. Why do they recommend it?

Superior by science journalist Angela Saini is based on source materials. In addition, it is animated by interviews with key scientists involved in the struggle to end race science. Saini weaves together stories that get at the more intimate details of, on the one hand, the persistence and continual reinvention of race and race science, and on the other, the work of individuals including Jonathan Marks and Jay Kaufman to move us all to better understanding why racism, not biological race, is the cause of inequalities in health and wealth. Superior is the most readable of all the books that…

From Alan's list on what race is (and is not).

The fact that race is a social construct and not a biological reality seems to be a lesson that we are destined to learn and re-learn many times. Saini uses a personal, journalistic style to tell the story of the pernicious myth of biological race in the sciences, drawing a continuous line from scientific racists like Francis Galton in the 1800s to present-day medicine and right-wing politics. The story is alternately funny and horrifying, with incredibly timely significance. It should be read by all data-adjacent individuals as a cautionary tale about avoiding the mistakes of the past and present. 

In recent years, there has been a disturbing resurgence in scientific racism. From conferences at leading universities to government advisors, racist ideas that were supposed to have disappeared decades ago turned out to have been hiding in plain sight. Angela Saini’s hugely important Superior sets out the history and politics of post-WW2 racial science in detail. Combining science, journalism, and history, Saini shows how new technologies like genetic testing are being used to reinforce old ideas concerning racial differences. This is an essential call to confront the legacies of scientific racism that are still with us.

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